Weekly Show

January 5th 2019- Top Drop: two shows in one!


It’s the return of Top Drop 2018.  A dozen World class wineries you should know about!

Top Drop – Two shows in one.

When I first pulled out the microphone I promised myself I wouldn’t go crazy and try to talk to all 40  wineries pouring at The Roundhouse in Vancouver. The 6th TOP DROP 2019 will happen May 23/24th.

But it was the Fifth Top Drop and it was the Liquid Love Child of Kurtis Kolt.

Kurtis Kolt

Kurtis is a wine educator, wine judge and wine columnist for The Georgia Straight.

When it comes to wines, he absolutely knows what he’s talking about. 

Anyway, I again got carried away and did 12 interviews and this time  put them into one complete show.

Top Drop Vancouver returns  with a continued focus on sustainably-farmed, handcrafted wines offering a distinct sense of place, without heavy-handed winemaking trickery to get in the way.

This is what this fine small wine festival believes in.

They believe in the importance in farming one’s own fruit and/or being constantly engaged with grape-growers to ensure sustainability and a high standard of viticultural practices.

They believe in wines that reflect their vintage, and wines that aren’t suffocated by vinicultural trickery.

They believe in winemaking decisions that are made by a winemaker, and not by a board of directors or marketing team. 

They believe in those who take chances. 

They believe these kinds of wines, honest wines of integrity, need a time and place to have their story told.

They also believe craft beer, cider, along with authentic and sustainable produce, dairy, meat, and seafood are part of the same conversation, which is why they ’re proud to showcase some of the very best in those areas.

An Astonishing gathering of wine professionals.  Check out all the guests and details

  • Kurtis Kolt – Organizer and wine ambassador & educator. Wine writer for The Georgia Straight.
  • Paul Leary – President Blackbird Vineyards  (Napa)
  • David Scholefield – Wines of Chile
  • David Patterson – GM and Winemaker at Tantalus (Kelowna)
  • Justin Fair-weather – Partner. Alpha Box and Dice (Australia)
  • Jane Ferrari – Winemaker. Ambassador Yalumba (Barossa. Australia)
  • Jay Drysdale –  Owner/Winemaker Bella (Naramata Bench)
  • Simon Black – Winemaker Montalto (Australia)
  • Virginie Taupenot –  Taupenot-Merme   (France)
  • David Amadia – President of Ridge Vineyards  (Sonoma)
  • Beth Novak Milliken – President of Spottswoode  (Napa)
  • Mark Vlossak – Owner and Winemaker at St. Innocent Winery.  (Willamette Valley, Oregon)



New wineries to watch for.

Kutatas – Salt Spring Island

Vancouver  Wine Festival 

Hello California!!

December 30th, 2017 – New Zealand Part 2


Tasting Room Radio B_BANNER2 Tour Number 2 of New Zealand begins in Hawkes Bay where Syrah is King..through the legendary Gimblett Gravels… and finishes on the south Island  in Nelson at NZ’s first Maori owned and operated winery.

North island

North island





  Part 1 of our wine tour of New Zealand took us through the Auckland area and on to Hawkes Bay and that’s where we begin Part 2.   Elephant Hill Elephant Hill Elephant Hill is a stunning and innovative winery estate and restaurant located on the idyllic Te Awanga coast, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

They create 2 very fine chardonnays piggyslots , Sauv blanc, a white & red blends called Le Phant Blanc/Rouge and a 5 star Viognier and favour Syrah on the Red side.. We sit down in their fabulous restaurant with Viticulturist Jon Peet and sales and marketing leader Vince Labatt. The word I get from the NZ wine business is… watch these guys..they’re very good.   http://www.elephanthill.co.nz/ Pask Staying in the Hawkes Bay area on North Island NZ we head for Pask.


On Roys Hill Overlooking Gimblett Gravels with Greg Allinson (Pask)

On Roys Hill Overlooking Gimblett Gravels with
Greg Allinson (Pask)

On our tour of NZ #1 we talked to Kate Ranburnd the famous winemaker at Pask. This time we take to the Gimblett Gravels fields and meet the guys who grow in that stunning region. Gimblett Gravels Gimblett Gravels     Pask’s 59 hectares of vineyards are located on Gimblett Road where Chris Pask was first to plant in the region now known as the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District®.

Formed over 100 years ago when the Ngaruroro River changed its course, the light, stony soils of the region are low in nutrients, completely free draining, and create the perfect environment for growing premium quality grapes. Their  very first vintage of 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 5 stars in Cuisine Magazine.

Since then Pask wines have consistently enjoyed gold medal and  trophy success in London, Australia, Asia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand across a range of varietals and winestyles. Pask is one of New Zealand’s leading wineries with an enviable reputation for excellence  around the world for over 25 years. Pask has been a member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception.

Kate Radburnd spent five years as Chair of the SWNZ advisory/working group. I get to  meet Danny van Selm



 the vineyard manager and Greg Allinson – direct sales and marketing manager. Interview takes place on a picnic table under a large tree  in the middle of Gimblett Gravels.   http://www.pask.co.nz/ Trinity Hill Their  story began in 1987 when John Hancock met Robert and Robyn Wilson in their London restaurant Bleeding Heart. Over a bottle of John’s award-winning Chardonnay, the concept of a Hawkes Bay winery was born. They were convinced they could produce world-class red wines as well as white in this region of New Zealand.

John recognized the outstanding potential of Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district and in 1993 Trinity Hill became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River. The first Gimblett Road wines, barrel-aged, were released in 1998 (vintage 1997); Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and Syrah, to critical acclaim and a number of gold medals and trophies. In 2000, a further 20 hectare parcel of prime Gimblett Gravels land was purchased, named “Gimblett Stones” where Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot plus areas of Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier were planted.

By 2001 The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association was set up with 34 wineries and winegrowers from a “terroir”-defined area of the old Ngaruroro Riverbed, including Gimblett Road. Trinity Hill was and remains a founding member. In 2002, the first vintage super-premium wine Homage Syrah was made. When it was released in 2004 it received critical acclaim world-wide. The 2006 vintage of Homage Syrah won the Supreme Award at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in 2007. John Hancock is our guest http://www.trinityhill.com/ http://www.gimblettgravels.com/ Sileni Estates Sileni Estates is a major vineyard and winery development in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest established vineyard area. The first vintage was in 1998. Sileni boasts a state of the art winery designed to crush over 1500 tonnes of grapes.

sileni estate

Sileni Estate

The  Winemaking Team strive to maintain high standards in environmentally sustainable viticultural and winemaking practices Our Guests are  Winemaker   Grant Edmonds and Senior winemaker Rachael Garnham (currently on Mat leave. Two 1 year old twins)) With over 20 years experience in the New Zealand wine industry, including the position of Chief Winemaker for the Villa Maria Group and Esk Valley Estates, Grant now leads a team of talented winemakers and viticultural staff who all share Grant and Sileni Estates’ commitment to the vision of making internationally acclaimed wines.

They grow wines in a new sub-region of Gimblett Gravels The Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District in Hawke’s Bay has recently been launched to celebrate and promote one of New Zealand’s premium wine-growing sub-regions.  The area extends over more than 2,000 hectares on the western side of the Heretaunga plains and includes the largest concentration of quality vineyards in Hawke’s Bay.  It now has 10 winery members, including Sileni Estates. Sileni Estates has implemented and maintains both the ISO14001 and Sustainable Winegrowing certification.

http://www.sileni.co.nz/ Mission Estate  In 1838 a group of French Missionaries (with the blessing of the Pope)

arrived and established a Marist Mission in the north of New Zealand. 1851 In 1851 a mission station was established near the Ngaruroro River between Napier and Hastings at Pakowhai.  In 1858, the missionaries moved to land they had purchased at Meeanee and a major community was established.

Mission Estate

Mission Estate

A cottage for living quarters was transported from Pakowhai and later a Church, school and study halls were built.  Vines were planted to produce both sacramental and table wine.  The first record of a commercial sale dates back to 1870 when a parcel of mostly dry reds were sold. Today Mission Estate is Hawke’s Bay’s oldest winery, with a well-respected reputation in the New Zealand market as a producer of consistent quality, value for money wines. Winemaker Paul Mooney  Paul Mooney has been the winemaker at Mission Estate for over 30 years, making him one of the most experienced winemakers in New Zealand.

Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney

Paul’s winemaking philosophies are heavily influenced by his mentor, Brother John, who trained in Bordeaux during the 1960’s http://www.missionestate.co.nz/

Then it’s off to Wellington and then Nelson on the Northern tip of the South Island.  Te Mania and Richmond Plains Te Mānia was established by Jon and Cheryl Harrey in 1990 near Nelson at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.  A two time Champion of the prestigious Bragato Wine Awards, Te Mānia has created  excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling wine.

Te Mānia  is the Maori name for “The Plains” pronounced “Tay Ma-ni-a” Big Balls Syrah To celebrate worlds biggest

At Richmond Plains & Te Mania with Lars Jensen owner of Richmond Plains plus winemaker Steve Gill

At Richmond Plains & Te Mania with Lars Jensen owner of Richmond Plains plus winemaker Steve Gill

grapevine rugby ball and to support their  world beating rugby team they have  released the Te Mania 2010 Big Balls Syrah. It’s an ideal accompaniment to roast springbok, bbq wallaby, coq au vin and to wash down English puddings!

Big Balls at Richmond Plains

Big Balls at Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains is an organic and biodynamic Nelson wine making pioneer producing New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from certified Organic and Biodynamic grapes.  They  also produce Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Rose, Syrah and Blanc de Noir – Pinot made as a white wine. Richmond Plains has been growing and making organic wine since inception in 1991 and its grapes are certified by BioGro and Demeter New Zealand. Richmond Plains  won the Trophy for the best Sauvignon Blanc at the 2012 Sydney International Wine Competition. Our guests are Winemaker Steve Gill – Both labels Lars Jensen – Owner Richmond Plains   Tohu  

Tohu Wines..Maori Owned

Tohu Wines..Maori Owned

  Tohu produces award-winning New Zealand wine crafted from grapes grown in the  breath-takingly beautiful, Awatere Valley Vineyard. When Tohu launched in 1998 we were the world’s first Māori owned wine company.

Since then they’ve  grown a reputation for producing premium wine in a range of varieties, winning awards for  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Méthode Traditionnelle.   . Tohu Wines now has a sister brand.  Aronui Wines was launched early in 2013 by the whanau who have been brining you award-winning Tohu Wines for over 15 years.

The word Aronui derives from the Māori mythological basket of knowledge associated with crafts, arts and working with the land in beneficial ways. This reflects their  commitment to caring for the land and their  artisanal approach to winemaking. As the owners are kaitiaki (guardians of their natural resources) and focused on sustainable enterprise, both Tohu and Aronui vineyards are certified by Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ), the  company is CEMARS accredited, and the wines are carboNZero certified.

Whenua Matua (Significant Lands) is the name of our Aronui vineyard. It is located in Nelson’s Moutere Valley – an area fast becoming an aromatics powerhouse. This compliments their Tohu vineyards located in Marlborough, where they continue to produce  Single Vineyard Estate grown wines and exceptional Kaumatua-Reserve range, named after special elders from within their whanau.

photo (18)

Maori mussles Capt Dave Higgins aboard Hicapoo Hunter

Our hosts also take us to their mussle farms just off shore. That’s where we get the treat of the trip..fresh live mussels cooked on deck and washed down with their Sauvignon Blanc.  

Whanau = family. Māori = indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Kaumauta = respected elder   Our guests include: Kerensa Johnson – Company Secretary and Lawyer Mike Brown – CEO Kono beverages Capt Dave Higgins – Hicapoo Hunter fishing boat. Our next New Zealand special will feature: Spy Valley Yealands Stoneleigh & Brancott Seresin Staetelandt Maraqeta Lodge



Stories we’re working on:


December 23rd, 2017 – New Zealand



Tasting Room Radio Post Banner BThe first of several One Hour Specials during a two week wine blitz through New Zealand’s wine regions,  with special interest in their amazing sustainability programs. In this special we start in Auckland and conclude in Hawkes Bay.   

Hawkes Bay 2

Hawkes Bay



 The opportunity was just too good to pass up. For a number of years I’ve been interviewing NZ winemakers as they passed through Canada. The meetings were great but I had no sense of the land. Where these wines were grown and under what conditions. Kiwi’s kept referring to Gimblett Gravels, a place called Nelson, Central Otago and Waiheke Island. I very much wanted to “get it”. To complete my understanding of what went into the astounding success of New Zealand wines – in Canada and around the World.

Map of NZ

Map of NZ

The invite from Wines of New Zealand  to tour the country was Waaaay to good to pass up. 94% of all NZ wines are farmed under sustainable practices. It’s not so much a program as a way of life. New Zealanders are all about being green. Just a note:  I seem to have done enough interviews for at least 2 other specials. They’ll be coming over the next month and a half.

NZ Vineyard

NZ Vineyard

Our guests include: Sarah Szegota   New Zealand Winegrowers   www.nzwine.com  Rob Meredith/Connie Festa  Co-Owners of Peacock Sky Vineyard (Waiheke Island)  www.peacocksky.co.nz

Peacock Sky

Peacock Sky

Beautiful hilltop vineyard, wonderful Bistro. Rob’s retired and works 7 days a week. Connie’s from Montreal. Cooks like her Mom. Staying on Waiheke Island..just off the coast from Auckland..we visit Mike Spratt at Destiny Bay, maker of only three wines.  three Bordeaux influenced red blends..one of which,  Magna Praemia,  is the most expensive wine in NZ.  Mike, his scientist wife Ann and winemaking son Sean lead a stellar team.  http://www.destinybaywine.com/ In between both those Waiheke island wineries we talk to our “host” Phillip Manson, the man in charge of New Zealand’s Sustainability efforts.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island







He’s proud of New Zealand’s reputation. So he should be. www.nzwine.com Before we leave the dormant volcanoes of beautiful Auckland we visit just one more winery. The most awarded winery in all NZ – Villa Maria!!  www.villamaria.co.nz Sir George Fistonich has spent five decades at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry that he helped develop. As an icon of the New Zealand wine industry, Villa Maria is known for bold and industry-changing moves such as moving to 100% screw cap through to the emphasis on sustainable practices in every area of the family owned company. Villa Maria Estate was named the supreme winner at the New Zealand Sustainable Business Network awards in November 2012


Sir george Fistonich Villa Maria

Sir George Fistonich Villa Maria

We start with David Roper/Winemaker. Then Fabian Yukich, in charge of wineries and vineyards and finally, the man himself, Sir George Fistonich.      [divider] Hawkes Bay is a short flight from Auckland. http://www.hawkesbaynz.com/ Hawke’s Bay’s long, hot summers and cool winters offer the best weather for growing grapes. The climate is dry and temperate. Hawke’s Bay is renowned for its horticulture with large orchards and vineyards on the plains.   Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.   They are working on being the Syrah Capitol of NZ.  www.winehawkesbay.co.nz/ [divider] Pask Winemaker and Managing Director Kate Radburnd is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed winemakers. She commands an international reputation for her extensive record of award winning wines and her vision and contribution to the industry. Kate holds the role of Deputy Chair of the Wine Institute of New Zealand, has been a Director of the Wine Institute of New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers since 1999, and is Chair of Judges at New Zealand’s oldest wine competition, the New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards. Kate has also been instrumental in the development of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program and led Pask to be among the first group of wineries in the country to secure ISO environmental accreditation.

Kate Radburnd


Kate  spent five years as Chair of the SWNZ advisory/working group, which at that time saw the introduction of the winery programme under the scheme. Four of her  labels command the wine world’s attention Declaration Gimblett Road Roy’s Hill Kate Radburnd  Loved this interview..Enjoy!!  http://www.pask.co.nz/ [divider]   

In Our second New Zealand Special we will attempt to  include Elephant Hill Trinity Hill Selini Estates Mission Estates Winery (all in Hawkes Bay) TeMania Kono (in Nelson) Spy Valley Yealands Stoneleigh Brancott  ( all in Marlborough)  



Lucas Pavan – Producer of Dine Out Vancouver

Ann Sperling – On Organics and the Okanagan

NZ  Part Two- Marlborough

December 22nd, 2018- Three Questions for Wine  Experts


Three Questions for Wine  Experts – Wine/Trends/Gifts



DJ Kearney –  Global Wine Consultant. Sommelier. Educator (New District)

DJ Kearney

-Wines of the Year  (see lists below)

-Trends from 2018 heading into 2019

-Wine Gifts that work for everyone.

It’s fair to say, there are a lot of year end lists going around.

Films, books, foods, albums and of course wine

I thought I’d jump into the season with Three Questions I wanted to ask.

Then I got lucky.

I was able to find Rhys Pender.  Master of Wine  (last week)

And then in quick succession DJ Kearney and Kurtis Kolt. Both top flight
wine consultants and educators.

DJ has been teaching about wine as long as I have known her. She currently
consults for NewDistrict.ca and many others. She organizes the annual
Judgement of BC competition.

If there’s any judging to do, she’s always first call.

Here’s DJ’s recommended Wines of the Year

DJ Kearney’s hit list:


BC choices:

Haywire Free Form Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – #10 in Decanter Magazine’s most
exciting wines of 2018  (natural)

Martin’s Lane Fritzi’s Vineyard Riesling 2015 $75.00 winery direct

Ricco Bambino Syrah 2017  – $55.99 NewDistrict.ca – 2018 silver medal winner
at the Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards – 11.7% alcohol which makes this
lean and lithe, classic cool-climate Syrah.

Corcelettes Micro Series Pinot Noir 2016  $36.00 New District

Deep Roots Syrah 2016 $35 winery

Canadian choices:

Benjamin Bridge – any and all sparkling wines!

Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc – New District $44.99

Closson Chase The Brock Chardonnay – BCL  $23.50

Global highlights:

Champagne Pol Roger Brut Réserve NV – $69.99 BCL – everything done by hand
even for the NV!

Emiliana’s Coyam from Chile $29.99 BCL – this is a go-to gift every year.
Biodynamic and delicious.

White Bordeaux:  Clos Floridene 2015 for $39. At BCL – wonderful, gently
oaked Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon for the dinner table or host gift

China – Silver Heights at BCL – check this out – China is making wonderful
wine and I hope we get access to more and more of the good ones

Uruguay – Bodegas Garzon is an amazing project on the coast – Alberto
Antonini is the consulting winemaker and the range is thrilling. Look for
the Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Marselan, Tannat!  The astonishing Reserve
Tannat is at the BCL for $24.99, and the Cabernet Franc is available there


Kurtis Kolt – Vancouver based Wine Consultant. Wine Column Georgia Straight.
Co-Partner in Top Drop Vancouver. Sommelier.

Kurtis Kolt

Kurtis  is a Vancouver-based freelance wine consultant, writer, and
competition judge. Certified by London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust and
the Court of Master Sommeliers, his enthusiasm and experience have resulted
in many high-profile opportunities, from contributing to Decanter magazine
and appearing at New York’s James Beard House, to leading wine festival
seminars and beyond.

Twitter: @KurtisKolt
Instagram: @KurtisKolt


Best wines of the year (Canada and Beyond)

Catena White Stones Chardonnay, Argentina –

A Sunday In August Cabernet Franc, BC –

Marchesi di Barolo 2013 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy –

Tiberio Cerasuolo D’Abruzzohttp://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/169885

Trends from 2018

Natural Wine just keeps going!



Wine gifts. (what to take/leave/gift)

The new Wine Folly book

Reidel Wine Glasses

Kurtis Kolt // KurtisKolt.com <http://www.kurtiskolt.com/>  // TopDrop.ca


Madeline Puckett  – Wine Folly/The Master Guide (co-founder)

Madeline Puckette is a wine sommelier and visual designer whose electrifying
info graphics and congenial writing has garnered an enthusiastic following
from wine beginner to expert.

Madeline Puckette Wine Folly

Madeline  is the creator and cofounder of winefolly.com, a site dedicated to
learning about wine. Additionally, her work has been applied in
organizations, including The Court of Master Sommeliers and the Guild of
Sommeliers to help wine professionals learn.

This is just a quick chat with Madeline.

I hope to read the book over the Holidays and return here with a feature
interview very soon.

“the best introductory book on wine to come along in years.”

Dave McIntyre (Washington Post)



Wine Folly

Best of BC’s Field Blends

Kutatas – Salt Spring Island

The Wine Diva – Year end wines and Bubble. (Next)

December 16th, 2017-Jan Arden-Feeding My Mother


More than just  a  cookbook from Jann Arden.  Plus The Comeau Case  with Christine Coletta, Rob Summers & Chef Rod Butters.



Jann Arden – Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as my Mother Lives with memory loss.

 “Jann Arden is one of the most honest and talented women I’ve ever met, and her love for her mother is so rich.” —Chef Lynn Crawford

Even though Jann and I have known each other for 30 years it didn’t make the book any easier to read.

The pain of watching her Mother fade away commands each and every page of this cookbook and then you turn the page and it’s

a recipe for split pea soup.

We talk about dealing with the slow loss of her Mother and Candy Grams for Mongo.

That’s exactly what a Jann Arden concert is like..crazy fun one moment and heart wrenching  the next.

As each day steals more and more of her Mother’s  memory, it’s her  kitchen  and the food in it that connects her Jann and her Mother.

Amazing book.

Fascinating performer.

Wonderful friend.




Christine Coletta – Co-Founder of Okanagan Crush Pad. The Comeau Case

 Christine calls in from Ottawa where she was a very involved by-stander in the Supreme Court of Canada discussion about Canadian Wine laws. It was The Comeau Case. Forty Seven lawyers in one courtroom. It was a big deal.

Supreme Court Justices

We all have  7 months to wait for the Court’s decision on how wine moves throughout Canada and why it hasn’t moved since 1927.

Most of those lawyers were representing Greed. The remaining legal’s were speaking on behalf of you and I.

Good Luck.

In the meantime, here’s Christine’s take.





Rob Summers – Senior Winemaker/Hester Creek Vineyards

 Great guy.  Loves what he does.

And what he does is blend some of BC’s best wines.

If you haven’t tried “The Judge” I urge you to charge your glass. One of Canada’s best red blends..

Rob takes us through his Character Red and White, his singular Trebianno and the Lieutenant Governors awarded Reserve Merlot Block 2.

One of Canada’s best wineries – Hester Creek. On the Golden Mile. South Okanagan.



Chef Rod Butters – Terrafina (at Hester Creek)/ Raudz/Micro/The Okanagan Table!

Rod Butters

Rod is on a roll.

A year ago he partnered with Hester Creek to turn their tasting room and patio  into Terrafina, an Italian leaning bistro with a much to like menu.

Terrafina was added to his other properties Raudz and Micro in Kelowna.

Then came his first cook book.

The Okanagan Table. The Art of Everyday Cooking

( I get a sense he’s not done yet)

It all seemed to start in 1996 when he became the opening chef at the glorious Wickaninnish Inn,  Tofino.

Chef and I talk about all of those properties and passions plus  what’s ahead.

Rod and his team won 7 awards in the 2017 Okanagan Life Best Restaurant Awards.


His cookbook is in the running for a world cookbook award.

What’s not to like?






Nothing. Zero. Its Christmas time.

We’ll head back to New Zealand for a

Two parter.



December 9th, 2017 – A Thousand Stories!


The Wine Diva’s Top 100 under $20 plus Winemaker Bob Blue on 1000 Stories & Bonterra


Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine DIva


Just in time for Christmas and the Holidays…Wines 89 points or better and all $20.00 or under. What’s not to LIKE?


Daenna van Mulligen




Over the course of her tasting year Daenna always starts a Top 100 wine list. These wines have passed her taste test and they’re affordable.


We can’t fit in all 100 wines but there are at least 25 wines here..of all kinds and countries.

Plus Daenna throws in 3 more just to finish it off.


If you go to www.winediva.ca you can follow along..Also, at the top of her page there’s a link to a printable list.


Print it up, stick it in your bag!

  • Sperling Vineyards ‘Market White’, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Torres ‘5G’, Campo de Borja Spain
  • Bodegas Valparaiso ‘Finca El Encinal’ Ribera del Duero, Spain
  • Bartier Bros. Riesling, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Blue Grouse Estate Winery ‘Quill’ Pinot Gris, Duncan British Columbia
  • Falernia Carmenere Reserva, Elqui Valley Chile
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Paul Mas Viognier, Languedoc France
  • Selbach Riesling ‘Fish Label’, Germany
  • The Wolftrap Syrah~Mourvedre~Viognier, Robertson South Africa
  • Masi Passo Doble, Tupungato Argentina
  • Yealands Estate ‘Land Made’ Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand
  • Bodegas Borsao Garnacha, DO Campo de Borja Spain
  • Road 13 ‘Chip Off the Old Block’ Chenin Blanc, Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Shiraz Viognier, South Australia
  • Nathalie Bonhomme ‘el petit bonhomme blanco’, Rueda Spain
  • Clos du Soleil Rose, Okanagan Valley
  • Louis.M.Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County California
  • Quails’ Gate Estate Winery ‘Lucy’s Block’ Rose, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards ‘Pink Mile Rose’, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Tantalus Vineyards Rose, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Tinhorn Creek ‘Oldield Reserve’ Rose, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Bodegas Olivares Rosado ‘Finca Hoya de Santa Santa Ana’, Jumilla Spain
  • C.C Jentsch Cellars ‘The Chase’, Okanagan Valley BC
  • CedarCreek Estate Winery Riesling, Okanagan Valley BC

or  pocket..it’s invaluable until the next list comes along.

Thank You Daenna.

Bob Blue – California Winemaker at Bonterra and 1000 Stories Bourbon barrel aged Zinfandel


Bob Blue – Bonterra

Iconic winemaker Bob Blue on the phone from Mendocino.  Bob is showcasing his most recent project – 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-aged Zinfandel, which has just launched in BC.

 A graduate from UC-Davis, Bob is considered a pioneer in the organic wine arena and is the founding winemaker for Bonterra, America’s #1 Organic wine. Bob was mentored by Paul Dolan and Dennis Martin and traveled to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Australia and the Rhone to broaden his sense of style. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards in 2014, recognizing him for his 25-year commitment to the highest standards of organic viticulture.



100 stories opens with vanilla and cherries, hints of barnyard.  A sweet attack followed quickly by pepper, cooking spices, vanilla? AND Twizzler. (Liquorice)

By the time you taste that first mouthful you are engaged. Welcome to BC Bob!!   http://www.1000storieswines.com/


The second half of the interview is all about Organic wines..their growth and rise in popularity.

Because Bob has been an industry leader in organic wines for almost 30 years he’s the guy to talk to about how organic wines won all of us over.

Winery of the Year in 2014 from Wine Enthusiast.



Jann Arden – It’s a cook book and NOT a cook book. Its about cooking for her Mom, who’s dealing with memory loss.

Christine Coletta – “Come and get me Copper!”   A report from Ottawa and the Supreme Court battle over Canada’s odious wine laws.

Moon Cursor

Hester Creek





December 2nd, 2017 – The  Wines of  Bloom – Tantalus- Laughing Stock


The  Wines of  Bloom and Arterra Wines buy Laughing Stock


Hello December!!


Jay Wright – President and CEO of Arterra Wines Canada

Another Okanagan Winery has been scooped up by a much larger company.

Arterra Wines Canada announced this week an agreement to acquire Laughing Stock Vineyards on the Naramata Bench.

Arterra have been in the BC wine business for more than 30 years with top end vineyards like Black Sage and Sunrock and wines such as Sumac Ridge, See Ya Later, Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin Okanagan and Nk’Mip Cellars.

Laughing Stock’s Bordeaux Blend Portfolio is considered one of the best blends in Canada and their Syrah Ain’t too shabby either.

Founders Cynthia and David Enns will continue on at the winery.

Our guest is Jay Wright, the President and CEO of Arterra Wines Canada.


Jay Wright


Bloom VQA Wines in Vancouver (Golden Mile)   

Adrian Cassini – Cassini Cellars

 It’s sometimes  best when you walk into a room where close to 100 wineries are pouring,  to work the room alphabetically. Unless of course you forget to spit.

We start with the winemakers from the C’s (The A’s and B’s didn’t have winemakers available)

Adrian Cassini

The hottest C winery this year is Cassini on the Golden Mile Bench. After winning 7 Gold and 5 Silver they were named winery of the year at Intervin and have had an astonishing year in the awards circuit. A record 2 Lieutenant Governors Awards and 2 more Gold in LA.  Our guest is the visionary owner/winemaker Adrian Cassini.  cassini.ca 

Chris Jentsch from CC Jentsch also on the Golden Mile Bench


Character guy makes character wines.  His winemaker Amber Pratt has taken  on a much tougher job, being the Mom of three children.

Chris has downsized a bit but still he’s a full time working owner and grower. Jentsch continues to win award after award and if you haven’t tasted their Syrah or The Chase, you have a treat waiting for you.



Gene Covert from Covert Farms

 Beautifully located at  McIntyre Bluff in South Okanagan.

Covert Farms

Gene and his family operate a 4th generation 650 acre organic farm, vineyard, and winery. Their organically-grown wine portfolio includes Roussanne/Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Rosé, as well as  proprietary red blends, The Bluff, MDC and the iconic, Amicitia.

Yes,  they work tough hours and even tougher conditions but nobody has more fun doing it that the Covert Clan. It shows in their wines.     covertfarms.ca

Next  Pacific Breeze, Therapy and Spierhead.

 Pacific Breeze – Maurice Hamilton  Founder/Owner  Pacificbreezewinery.com  What started years ago as a home based hobby wine has turned out to be a very successful New Westminster based winery. Named Winery of the Year in 2010.  Pacificbreezewinery.com

Therapy Vineyards – Mike Boyd  New owner  therapyvineyards.com  At the far end of the Naramata Bench.  Very popular destination for wine fans. Come meet the new owner and hear his plans.


Spierhead Winery – Bill and Marina Knutson  Owners  spierheadwinery.com  Just outside Kelowna.

Spierhead makes fine Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay but they really specialize in Pinot Noir.

2016 Golden Retreat, Pinot Noir Cuvee, Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block and standard Pinot Noir.

Rated Top 10 wineries in Canada, BC and best small wineries in Canada.    spierheadwinery.com

David Paterson – Winemaker/GM  Tantalus

Tantalus is situated on the eastern slopes of the Okanagan Valley, overlooking the shores of Lake Okanagan and Kelowna.


Originally known as Pioneer Vineyards, the site was first planted to table grapes in 1927 and today is known as the oldest continuously producing vineyard in British Columbia

David Paterson is a Kiwi and a Canadian, having been born in Vancouver. He received his winemaking degree from Lincoln University NZ & following time spent working in the local NZ industry he travelled the wine world gaining experience at premium wineries in Oregon, France & Australia.

David Paterson


He landed at Tantalus in 2009 and with seven successful vintages under his belt with the winery he took on the role of GM as well in 2016. Prior to joining Tantalus, David was working with celebrated South Australian producer Henschke Cellars. 

As such he got to work the vineyards at the world famous Hill of Grace.  Riesling has always been the leader at Tantalus however, through  David’s guidance Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Blanc de Noir have caught our attention.  www.tantalus.ca 





Hester Creek

Moon Cursor

Bob Blue – Bonterra/1000 Stories (Bourbon Barrel Aged Zin)

























November 25th, 2017- The 4 “F’s”


The 6th annual Friends. Fishing. Food. Fluids. With Rhys Pender. (MW-Little Farm)  Chef Mark Filatow (Waterfront Bistro)   John Weber (Orofino)

At Skitchine Lodge.   16 Lakes, 21 wines and 2 Tomahawk Chops.

Summerhill Vineyards receives 100 pts for their Ice Wine in SF.   We talk to Ezra Cipes  CEO.



We THINK it’s the 6th  annual  4F trip.  No matter.  It’s still the most fun you can have .



This year, as last,  we head for Skitchine Lodge on the Bonaparte Plateau North of Kamloops.

You have fifteen lakes to choose from. In many cases you are the only boat on that lake.

Some lakes are catch and release, some you can keep 2,4 or 6 trout.










Most guests never leave with a trout.



Yes,  it’s an excuse to go fishing but it’s also about food and wine.  And friends.

John, Rhys, Mark and myself all bring wines we think each other would like. As a result, we have far too many but they all get tasted.

Wines from all over the world. All over Canada and all over BC.

Chef Mark creates a meal that stays in the memory bank for a long time..and always includes two tomahawk chops from Two Rivers Meats. Always done over an open fire and always brilliant.

Our hosts are Mark and Tania Lee and this year Tania is the resort chef.

We talk to both about fishing and food.


If you EVER get a chance to visit Skitchine LodgeGO!!!

Good for the soul.






Ezra Cipes – CEO Summerhill Winery

This very month Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna received a perfect 100 point score and double gold medal for its “small lot” Semillon ice wine from the San Francisco International Wine Competition. From a field of 4200 entries from 31 countries.

Ezra Cipes is humbled by the awards however he points out that you have to grow great grapes and have exceptional cellar habits to get a perfect score.

Ezra Cipes – C.E.O.

Summerhill is the same winery that earned the Canadian Winery of the Year award and also won the Best Chardonnay in the World at the Chardonnay du Monde in France with over 700 wines entered from 38 countries.

Ezra  and Summerhill exemplify  what it takes to makes great wine. Passion, smarts and a relationship with the Earth.










November 18th, 2017


Meet the new tribute person at Meyer Family Vineyards..

Plus we talk Fort Berens, Canadian Whisky and Taylor Fladgate.


JAK Meyer/Donovan Tildesley

In 2008, JAK and Janice Meyer launched the release of their inaugural Chardonnay at a reception held at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. The 2006 single vineyard Chardonnay from their estate vineyard on “Old Main Road” in Naramata commemorated the beginning of their “Tribute Series” Chardonnay.

The “Tribute Series” is dedicated to a Western Canadian or organization for an outstanding achievement in their field and as a way of encouraging or honouring the legacies of these Canadians, JAK and Janice will make a contribution toward a not-for profit foundation, endowment or scholarship on behalf of the honouree.

Over the last decade, Meyer has paid tribute to the following Canadian individuals & organizations through the launch of their “Tribute Series” Chardonnay: Emily Carr, Bill Reid, Steve Yzerman, Kenny McLean, Sonja Gaudet, Winnifred Mary Stewart, Kelly Hrudey, Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship and in 2014, JAK’s parents Art & Viv Meyer.

Their 2016 vintage marks the eleventh “Tribute Series” Chardonnay; and this year Meyer is proud to recognize Donovan Tildesley, accomplished blind Paralympic swimmer.


Donovan’s career highlights include a Bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, five Golds and one Silver medal at the 2002 IPC World Championships, 2 Silvers and one Bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, and a Bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics where he was also named flag bearer for Team Canada. In 2012,

Donovan Tildesley

JAK & Janice Meyer will donate $5,000 in Donovan’s name to The Foundation Fighting Blindness, Canada’s largest not for profit donor to researching cures for retinal diseases.

The funds will be earmarked to the “Dr. Robert K Koenekoop Ocular Genetics Laboratory” for research into cures for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) which is the eye condition affecting Donovan.

Meyer produced 697 cases of the 2016 “Tribute Series” Chardonnay and even went to the lengths of including braille on the label..

To purchase this wine or other newly released Meyer wines, visit them online at www.MFVwines.com

Rolf de Bruin Fort Berens co-founder

I found Rolf on his way  from the home base in Lillooet to Whistler and Cornucopia. He was about to debut 2015 Red Gold..his sensational blend that is the flagship of FB.

43% Cab Franc/31 Cab Sauv/26% Merlot.

And 28% of the Cab Franc was made passimento style. Those grapes were air dried until they were like raisins. Then they were allowed to ferment and become Red Gold.  Many of the same properties and components as Amaretto. Price is around $45.00.  Loved this  blend.

Rolf and I also talk about their Reisling, Pinot Gris and the bagfull of awards theyve won this year.

Rolfs partner in life and wine is Heleen Pannekoek.


Davin de Kergommeaux Canadian Whisky (The New Portable Expert) Second Edition

This fully updated and revised edition of the award-winning Canadian Whisky invites you on a journey across Canada and back through time to discover the story of this unique spirit. Independent whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux weaves a passionate  narrative, beginning with the substance of Canadian whisky—grains, water, and wood—and details the process of how it’s made and how to taste it. He traces the fascinating history of the country’s major distilleries and key visionaries, and introduces the present-day players—big and small—who are shaping the industry through both tradition and innovation.

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux is an independent expert who has been writing, talking, and teaching about whisky in all its forms and flavours for two decades. He is the world’s leading authority on Canadian whisky, and has been called “Canada’s unofficial whisky ambassador” as well as being named one of the most influential Canadians in Food and Drink by The Globe and Mail in 2016.

He is a former contributing editor to Whisky Magazine, and has contributed to or co-authored eight other books about whisky, spirits, and cocktails.

He now writes full-time, and is regularly featured in many websites and publications, including Whisky Advocate.

De Kergommeaux is the founder and chairperson of the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards  which takes place at the Victoria Whisky Festival every January and publishes comprehensive tasting notes on his website, www.canadianwhisky.org

Cynthia Opsal Canadian Brand Manager  for Taylor Fladgate Partnership.

The feature regions at the 2018 VanWineFest are Spain and Portugal.

This year Taylor Fladgate is celebrating 325 years of being in the port wine business. Their   inception was 1692.  It’s a family owned business, never having been sold nor being a publicly traded company, still in the hands of descendents of the original families.   Obviously a unique business having weathered centuries of politics, governments, wars, etc.  The represent the very best of Portuguese craft.

Taylor 325  Reserve Tawny Port is a special edition and once it’s gone, it’s done.  So the collector aspect is very much there and the bottle shape is beautiful with historical ties to it.  On the nosedry fruit, figs, plums, pears, Christmas spice. In the mouth, Toffee, Gingerbread, layers of everything.

 It makes for a great holiday gift idea.

Cynthia fills us in on Taylors 10-20-30-40 and 50 year old tawny, on the Century of Port Box set (Thats the 10 to 40 half bottles totaling 100 years)

Much to talk about..and keeping the Holidays and VanWineFest in mind..lots of good ideas here.






The Okanagan Table Rod Butters

(he doesn’t know it yet)

Christine Coletta

Moon Curser

November 11th, 2017 – Whistlers Cornucopia & Vancouver Wine Festival


Updates on Whistler’s Cornucopia and VanWineFest 2018 plus Kristian Eligh finds his “inner Chef”

And Part Two of our Pinot Noir special.



Whistler’s Cornucopia Food and Wine Festival

 Samantha Rahn is the Wine Director at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, former Sommelier of the Year and now Cornucopia Ambassador.

Who better to talk to about the annual gathering in Whistler?

Samantha Rahn – Araxi

The festival started on Thursday but Sam and I will let you know what happens this weekend and all next week and into next weekend.

One of the best things about Cornucopia is it attracts really good wines, winemakers and all the best industry experts AND it’s in Whistler.

So..do the drive up. Park THE CAR and walk to the tastings and dinners. Perf!!




Samantha Rahn (@SamanthaRahnGC) · Twitter


Harry Hertscheg – VanWineFest Executive Director

Sid Cross and Harry Hertscheg

Just in time for Christmas!

Advance tickets are on sale for the 2018 Vancouver International Wine Festival until December 15th.

Festival kicks off February 24th and wraps up March 4.

177 wineries.

16 countries

Featured regions are Spain and Portugal.

1 in 3 wineries from those countries are new to Vancouver.

Harry explains where the savings are right now and especially what getting a Gold Pass means.

(Access to 6 tastings. Delta Lounge. Festival VIP Reception)

If you paid for all of them it would be $721.00   The Gold Pass right now is only $480.00

So much to talk about with Harry –  Have a listen and make your plans.


Chef Kristian Eligh –  Brown’s Culinary Development Chef


Kristian Eligh

We met when Kristian was working side by side with David Hawksworth in the Hawksworth and Nightingale kitchens and then on the road as the lead chef during the Hawksworth Young Chefs Scholarship Competition.

Kristian is acknowledged as a top flight chef – one of the very best. He also had the best hair!

I admit I was amazed when Kristian walked away from the nightly buzz of Hawksworth to become the Culinary Development Chef for the  Browns Social Houses.  Currently 62. Soon to be 65 restaurants!


The conversation starts with my first question “what went into your thinking about moving from such different kitchens and programs?”  His answer was from the Chef Dino Renaerts Play Book.

My second question was “how did you change the menu and what were your “stars”?”

Chef also walks us through their new Winter menu and spills the beans on their new location at The Queen E Plaza.










2017 Pinot Noir Celebration Part 2

Ran out of room on last week’s show..here are the final interviews.

3 Pinot makers and a top shelf wine guy.

Luke Smith – Howling Bluff

Andy Johnson – Averill Creek

Bryant Mao – Wine Director  Hawksworth/Nightingale

Gustav Allander – Foxtrot



Rolf de Bruin  – Fort Berens.  The awards stack up

JAK Meyer – Meyer Family Vineyards. 2 new chards.

Donovan Tildsley – Meyer Tribute Chardonnay

Davin de Kergomeaux – Canadian Whisky (The Book)